With season running out, pressing Cavs question remains
MAR 13, 2014 9:56p ET
Are the Cavaliers capable of continuing to play like they played Wednesday?
Yeah, I've wondered that all year, too. And no, I still have no idea.
The Cavs got a good win, a much-needed win, when they beat the Phoenix Suns by a 110-101 count on the road. It was a nice start to a three-game swing through the West, and I often wonder if the Cavs should just schedule all their games in the Mountain and Pacific time zones.
After all, they went 3-2 on their last major West swing, and I thought they had turned a corner. Then they lost four straight at home and former general manager Chris Grant got canned.
Yet despite all this craziness, the Cavs are 25-40 and still within striking distance of the playoffs. That's amazing to me. But here's the thing, and you know it as well as I do: Making the playoffs will be a huge achievement, simply because the Cavs started so poorly. So if they get to the postseason, it's because they're able to sustain the style displayed in biggies over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Suns.
I know everyone loves to say the Eastern Conference stinks, and in comparison to the West, it ain't good. But until those skeptics put together a team that can beat the Philadelphia 76ers, they should shut up. This is pro basketball. Nothing about it is easy or lousy.
At least, not to me. I know I sure could watch Kyrie Irving play every night, and he plays in the Eastern Conference. LeBron James and Paul George aren't too shabby, either.
Anyway, all that is beside the point. I'll step off that little soapbox now and focus on the Cavs again.
I still say they are at their best when they score 105 points or more. They need to push the pace, move the ball and keep it in the hands of Kyrie and let him create. I also would love to see more of Dion Waiters, He played 14 minutes two games ago in a home loss to the Knicks, and just 18 against the Suns. To me, Mike Brown's most glaring failure this season is to get Kyrie and Dion to start, and play well, together. I like Brown and think his principles can be successful. But sorry, no one wants to see 33 minutes of Jarrett Jack.
Waiters, to me, is the team's second-best player, a gutsy dude who isn't afraid to take the big shot. He holds onto the ball too long and still takes too many questionable shots, but he's a strong penetrator and passer. He needs to be on the floor-- a lot.
And if Brown is looking at defense -- again, sorry, I don't see it from Jack. He and Luol Deng were brought to Cleveland to be veteran leaders, and that they may be in the locker room. I haven't seen it (at least not enough) on the floor, though. And would the Cavs really be any worse if Waiters started ahead of Jack? I don't think so, and Waiters, not Jack, is the future. So why not take your lumps with Waiters -- lumps you have taken anyway, to develop the young guy?
OK, back to my original thought. Can the Cavs sustain anything good?
Maybe I've avoided answering because none of us really know. Maybe I've rambled on for a reason.
All I can tell you is I hope the answer is yes. It's been a difficult season for anyone involved with the organization, and that includes an ink-stained wretch like me. People always ask if it matters to me if the team I primarily cover is successful.
Matter? Probably not. Even if the Cavs win a title, I still have bills to pay. But is it easier and more enjoyable to cover? Probably. I like the people involved with the Cavs. They're good people. In that sense, I'd love nothing more than for them to do well.
But I can't just magically wish success on them, and they can't wish it on themselves. They have to go out on the court and make it happen. If they do, they can put all the doubts, all the frustrations and all the questions to rest for a while. And wouldn't that be nice?